1 c dehydrated braised chickpea chard coconut & couscous
1.5 c hot boiled water
About 35 minutes sit time, stir after 20*
Bored with your dehydrated backpacking meal rotation?
This just in: braised coconut chickpea & spinach recipe from The Kitchn works out as a dehydrated camp meal! Completed my trial of it yesterday with a taste test with some old friends.** Clockwise from top left: in my friend Alessandra‘s dehydrator, vacuum sealed +couscous (stored in freezer for optimum dryness while I was out galavanting), mid-hydration, ready to eat! Special thanks to Alessandra for loaning the dehydrator, and Torey for pointing me to the original recipe years ago while we were waiting for our S.O.s to finish the Vermont Beast.
All the chili paste I could find had fish sauce/shrimp contaminant in it, so I couldn’t have it in my house due to allergy. However, my roommate/partner/spouse brilliantly bought Korean chili paste instead, a.k.a. gochujang. Even better. Specifically, Mother-in-Law’s Gochujang, with a reassuringly hipster-y label.
I used half a yellow onion and one quarter of a red onion on hand. Red onions made for beautiful contrast. We had lots of onion left. I am excited to make noodles or something else with the leftover sauces.
I love soup. Did I mention I love soup? Predictably, my household caught the sniffles after all that holiday activity and travel, and my mind was filled with thoughts of healing soup. It’s a great way to take a lot of fluids and help you get better. There was this one day where I made two vats of soup for the week, went out to eat for another soup, and made a quick mug of noodle soup before bed. Just soup-er.
This one is creamy despite not having dairy, “thank goodness,” said the lactard. I also did away with the shrimp to eliminate my risk of anaphylactic shock, and took a shot frying tofu on the side. *I had to go to two different stores to get a red curry paste without shrimp paste in it (thank you vegan options), so if you’re going vegetarian check the ingredients listing before buying that. Entertainingly, the original recipe I riffed off is from Whole Foods Market via an Instacart link, see Butternut Squash and Coconut Soup with Shrimp. If you choose tofu as your side protein, read up in step 1 beforehand and adjust your task times accordingly.
Back when I was killing time with my friend Torey spectating a Spartan Race in Vermont (a state worth visiting, by the way), I mentioned to her I was trying to eat more lean protein and that I’m really into chickpeas as one source. She mentioned a particular recipe, and even more impressively, remembered to email it to me later the next week once we were both back on our respective coasts. It’s a happy coincidence that the kitchn is one of my favored sources for recipes too, yay! I roasted a sweet potato the first time, and grossly underestimated the amount of time for that to finish baking in my toaster oven, so if you do the sweet potato, try starting that a bit early, or cut it up to help it cook. Note: there is no recipe directly in here for sweet potato, only a link.*
I staged another upo squash battle, so stay tuned for another installment of the upo trials soon. But for now…
Here’s a first for the blog: a recipe trial based off a magnet! Specifically this one, which I bought from my home state long ago and always meant to use. With Autumn in full swing, the slight chill in the Pacific Northwest air puts me in mind of the Midwest Fall, with its brilliant, last-ditch burst of colors before the real cold sets in. With that, comes the impulse to make hot mulled cider (which I brought to spectate a Spartan Race the other weekend), and making tons of soup.
You will note there are some vague parts in this recipe, like, you can use 10 slices of bacon, OR and indeterminate amount of chicken. Continue Reading
The forecast in many parts of North America reaches 90 degrees in the next several days, so here’s a cold drink recipe to try. Shout out to my many Northwest peeps living without air conditioning. I had a real brain-sparking juice from Assembly Hall (a part of that behemoth conglomerate known as Tom Douglas restaurants) in Belltown, Seattle which spurred me to attempt an imitation, which inevitably spawned variants.
PLOC Juice (Pineapple Orange Lime Cayenne)
Inspired by Tropical Spice Juice from Assembly Hall
1 fresh pineapple, cut in chunks with rind removed*
1.5 orange, peel off, scrape a bit of pith off too
2-3 limes, (see oranges)
ice to desired thickness
Optional: 1/2 c frozen mango or ice, or coconut milk to taste
1 small dash of cayenne pepper
Optional: mint, coconut flakes, for garnish
My friend Jenni, of Lasagna Cupcake fame, expressed a burning desire to find out what I made the other night when I sent her a thank-you photo of my dinner with the single-serving tower of wine she kindly gifted me last month. It was perfect for being able to cook with, and have a few modest sips -especially on a day when I wanted to avert a cold but still relax for the weekend!
The critical tip here is: watch those scallops closely! No more than 3 minutes searing total (90 seconds per side)!
If you read the last post and haven’t tried ribboning scallions, here’s your chance. I was too impatient with the icing, which is why you don’t see any scallion curls in the photos here.
Corn & Potato Chowder with Seared Scallops
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Total time: ~45 mins
A filling soup with a meaty seared scallop garnish.
3 slices bacon, cut into small dice (I used turkey bacon this time)
2-3 sea scallops, patted dry
kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 small yellow onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
1 lone but large yukon gold potato, cut into a 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream (or coconut milk, in my case)
1/2 cup corn kernels, fresh (from 2 ears) or frozen
1/4 of a sprig of scallion, diced or julienned into curls
Optional: 1/2 cup canellini beans, rinsed
In a large skillet, over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp, about 5 minutes, a little more for turkey. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
If you don’t quite have 1 tablespoons of bacon drippings; supplement with olive oil and butter.
Increase heat to medium-high.
Season scallops with ¾ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper; cook until golden brown, about 90 seconds per side. Transfer to a plate.
Add the onion to the drippings in the skillet and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes.
Add the potatoes, sear for 2 minutes.
Add beans (optional), wine, broth, and cream/coconut milk; cover partially and reduce heat. Simmer gently until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
Add the scallops and corn and simmer gently to heat through. Sprinkle with the scallions and bacon.
Today’s Trial Recipe Rating: Novelty Rating: 4 of 5 stars.
I don’t make a lot of creamy soups, so this was delicious, yet not as painfully heavy (or later as unhappy for my stomach) as using cream. Likelihood of Repeat: 65% Lesson learned: next time chop the potatoes even smaller, almost pea-sized. When I divided the original recipe proportionately, I ended up with a wet pile of potatoes with corn, and had to add more liquid mix after the fact. I have altered the proportions here for a more soup-like mix. Doesn’t really look like the original recipe’s picture, but whatever. I think I’d use real pork bacon next time, and regular coconut milk rather than lite.
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Here in the Northwest, this week has a “heat wave” forecasted, by which I mean highs in the low 80s and somewhat sunny. Possibly laughable in the rest of the U.S., yes, but still a great excuse to try Smitten Kitchen’s Frozen Coconut Limeade. Did I mention I’ve been in a coconut obsessed phase? Anything coconut sounds delicious to try to me. Plus, watching all those soccer players sweat it out in humid Manaus makes me thirsty. The only thing I added was mint for garnish.
Today’s Trial Recipe Rating: Novelty Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars.
Mmm, so refreshing on a warm day, and has a more zippy bite to it than the usual smoothies from my house (made of frozen berries + almond milk). Likelihood of Repeat: 65% Lesson Learned: A little tart citrus adds even more pep. Note for next time: maybe try some almond flavors to add, and maybe try an alcoholic version too..
An old classmate of mine has been keeping a blog too, Monica’s Cheddar Cheese Popcorn, which includes plenty of food talk. It seems she’s on a new year health kick and has been trying some different food habits. Below is my rendition of the idea I got from her. It plays right into my urge to reinvent my breakfast routine, since the old irish-oats-in-rice-cooker-overnight-plus-toppings drill has started to feel stale.
I haven’t specified the portions of the toppings below, as I’m sure every one has their own preference for ratios.
Coconut Quinoa Breakfast Blend
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup water
1/2 cup quinoa Toppings: take ’em or leave ’em
cinnamon, to taste (~a dash)
salt, to taste (very little)
granola (for crunch)
1. Boil coconut milk and water on high until almost boiling, add quinoa and cook until liquid is absorbed, about 20-30 minutes.
2. While cooking quinoa, lightly toast almonds and pecans, grind flax seed with mortar and pestle (to release the nutritional oils), and slice the pear.
3. Scoop out some quinoa, top with your choice of toppings, and enjoy! Toppings could certainly be simpler, I just got carried away on a day off. I think it might even be good with a little jam on top.
Note: chia seeds are hella expensive. I scavenged some from my house, since it turns out my “roommate” bought a bag a long time ago. I think it’s safe to say that more than a teaspoon of either flax or chia seeds may be too much. I have read that said chia seeds have magical ‘make-you-feel-full’ properties. Beh. I also panicked a little after 20 minutes when the whole mix still looked watery, but after I’d eaten a small bowl (straining out some liquid), I found that the rest of the quinoa left on the stovetop had absorbed the water, so it worked out fine.
Interestingly, my first bowl of this I found I needed to drizzle honey on top, but by the next day, some sliced apples were enough sweetness for me. I packed a little mason jar of this for breakfast at work, and found it turned out to be too filling! How surprising. I tampered with the portioning to half the amount I would normally eat for oatmeal, which means I ended up eating it for breakfast for four straight days, but, no complaints, once I got the portions right (a little quinoa, lots more fruit and nuts). [Insert lecture here extolling the virtues of quinoa as a healthful false grain, vs. a regular ‘evil’ carb. Then insert lecture on the economic issues of quinoa, driving up the prices so that those who natively ate it as a staple in the Andes switch to more fattening staples. That leaves me, the overthinker, sort of leaving it at a wash for now..]
Today’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating: 5 of 5 stars The endless possibility of topping variations is quite appealing. I’m interested to find out how much fat I just added to my breakfast routine.. Likelihood of Repeat: 100% Yum! I’m definitely going to try and make oatmeal in coconut milk too, especially since I’ve got some coconut milk left over in the fridge. This combination inches me closer to the USDA MyPlate guidelines. New standard review note! Lesson Learned: oy! Don’t let the [coconut] milk boil over! Related lesson: I am really bad at cooking staple grains on stovetop. That’s what my robot butler, a.k.a. rice cooker, is for.
What do you do for breakfast? How do you keep it interesting?